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California's Impending Food Packaging Standard to be Felt Nationwide

October 25, 2022 2:23 PM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

On January 1, a new food packaging standard goes into effect in California that will have implications far beyond the state’s borders. In October 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsome signed Assembly Bill 1200 into law, which bans perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in food packaging at the beginning of 2023.

Impact On Promo

Considering the size of California’s economy – approximately 15% that of the United States, making the state the world’s fifth largest economy – its PFAS requirements on food packaging will likely impact U.S. promotional products businesses regardless of where they are located.

Grimaldi Law Offices, a firm specializing in chemical and product law, noted in its analysis of the impending rule change that it “effectively creates a new national standard for food packaging and cookware disclosure requirements.”

Food packaging is defined in the regulations as being, in part, to mean a nondurable package, packaging component or food service ware that is comprised, in substantial part, of paper, paperboard or other materials originally derived from plant fibers.

  • Examples of these products include food or beverage containers, take-out containers, liners, wrappers, eating utensils, straws, wrappers, utensils and disposable plates, trays and bowls.
  • PFAS substances are used in paper-based food packaging to resist liquids and grease.

PFAS was also a topic of discussion at this year’s PPAI Product Responsibility Summit, which included a session on the substances and how industry companies can respond to impending regulations.

The Regulations

Assembly Bill 1200 requires manufacturers use the least toxic alternative when replacing regulated PFAS in food packaging.

  • Additionally, beginning January 1, the bill requires the manufacturer of cookware containing certain intentionally added chemicals to list online the presence of those chemicals. Manufacturers will have to include similar information on the product label beginning January 1, 2024.

PFAS are a group of synthetic chemicals used in several industrial and consumer products. They are sometimes referred to as “forever chemicals” as they do not readily break down in the environment. They can also accumulate and persist in the human body. Due to these factors and more, PFAS substances are coming under increased scrutiny at the federal level.

Published with Permission from PPAI

Specialty Advertising Association of California (SAAC) 
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